Refund Policy | How Coaches Handle Refund Requests With Class

Refund requests are the unglamorous side of the coaching world, and certainly the last thing any coach wants to think about… especially after all the time and heart we put into our connection with clients and students, not to mention the energy & effort that goes into developing each of our offers.  


While we don’t typically expect refund requests to pop up, it’s an inevitable aspect of your online coaching business as you grow. So, coming in with a plan for how to handle refund requests with class is an important element of your coaching business that you don’t want to leave to the last minute


That’s why in today's blog I’m going to answer two of the top questions I get asked by clients which are “should online coaches give refunds?” and “how to handle refund requests in an untriggered way?” So let’s get started..


Now, as you grow your online coaching business you’re going to develop a beautiful offer suite that can include everything from simple done-for-you digital products, to masterclasses and mini-courses… all the way up to full online courses, group coaching experiences, 1:1 signature coaching packages, memberships, and so much more!


There are over 30 different ways you can package and monetize your genius, which is why it’s so important to have an airtight refund policy for each of your offers right from the get go. 


This supports everyone in being crystal clear on the boundaries and stipulations associated with your time and expertise (if they’re working with you directly through 1:1 or group) or your digital content (if they’re purchasing an online course or digital product).


And the best part about learning how to set up refund policies is that it gets you thinking about how to handle refund requests, how to deal with clients asking for a refund, and how to do it all with class so it’s in alignment with your self leadership and coaching business values.


So, let’s get into those two refund policy questions, as well as some refund policy examples so you can leave her today with absolute clarity on what feels most authentic to you.



Refund Policy Question #1 - Should Online Coaches Give Refunds?

To answer this question let’s start with some pro’s and con’s of offering refunds or money back guarantees.


Pros to offering refunds include:

  •  Showing you stand behind the quality of your offer, and are willing to put money on it
  •  It creates an instant peace of mind and trust 
  •  It supports in quick decision making and creates a no-brainer thought process
  •  It helps students feel safe to purchase on the spot

Refund cons include: 

  •  Having refunds without cause. So someone could purchase your offer, go through all the content and then ask for a refund.
  •  The next con is that Random Refunds make the accounting more complicated.
  •  Too many refunds can cause a red flag with certain merchant providers like paypal and stripe and they can drop you as a client


Here’s the thing friend, some coaches swear by offering refunds and money back guarantees. Some policies are no questions asked, while others have stipulations.


I’ve been in business almost 9 years and up until recently I offered a 7 day money back guarantee on my 3 signature programs that can be purchased as online courses. 


However, that’s recently shifted due to the extreme value and digital nature of the content.  If you’ve ever created a high quality online course you know the time, energy and effort that goes into it, and it no longer felt aligned to offer refunds.


I also share a TON of free education online through my youtube channel and blog which gives my audience an opportunity to get a feel for me as a mentor and to see if they trust me, and enjoy my teaching style.


I also personally don't offer guarantees on anything that includes my time (offers like 1:1 coaching, group coaching, my membership called The Self Led Coach, etc). Reason being that I can’t control participation.


If for whatever reason someone is super excited, buys in, and then doesn’t complete a mastermind, or chooses not to participate in coaching or the online membership, I can’t control that. 


I can support them along the way, but I can’t control their work ethic, commitment to apply tools or strategies, or their willingness to heal triggers, receive coaching or utilize the resources they have available to them.


And overall, offering refunds doesn’t align with my values of Self Leadership and holding each person capable to being in their power. Here’s the thing, friend…

Buying into anything is a commitment, and if your offers genuinely can create the results and transformation you’re saying they can, it’s important to hold your clients and students capable to their self leadership and the choices they’ve made in purchasing. 


Here’s a quick example of a refund policy I use for digital products:

There are no refunds on XYZ Course. When you purchase, do it with the intention of showing up for yourself, doing the work (internal & external) and completing the content in its entirety.

Disclaimer: Results may vary. I make no guarantees that you will make a difference in the world or make money with any Self Leadership Global products, programs and/or services... including XYZ course.


Now, in saying all that, the question of whether or not to give refunds is a bit of a loaded question because each coach and business model are unique. 


So, some things you’ll want to think about as you’re deciding if you plan to offer refunds are:

  •  Does my audience have enough information to make an educated decision on if my offer is a full body yes for them? (this could be through your content marketing, sales page or checkout page)
  •  How many days do they have to receive a refund?
  •  Are there stipulations on receiving a refund? (ie Is it a full money back guarantee with no questions asked… or do they need to Complete a certain amount of modules? Or Show completed workbooks? Full or partial refund?) 


Whatever you decide, know that your refund policy gets to look however you want. You set the boundaries and stipulations so be sure to be crystal clear right from the beginning.


And that brings us to…


Refund Policy Question #2 - How Do I Handle a Refund Request Un-triggered and With Class?


Once you have your refund policies in place the answer to this question becomes quite simple.


First, let’s look at handling the request with class.  I’m going to share a few examples, but before we get into that, there are a couple things you want to be aware of… 


1. Put everything in writing. Refund requests typically come through email, however if by chance you get a request through a phone call or zoom coaching session, I encourage you kindly share that you need to look over your refund policy and will get back to them via email within 24/48 hours. This gives you time to look over your policy, relax your nervous system and respond in a self led way.


2. The second thing to be aware of is Chargebacks. There may be times when someone calls their bank or credit card company and asks them to do a chargeback. A chargeback can be initiated if your client/student asks you for a refund and you say no because it’s outside your refund policy, OR it can happen without anyone reaching out to you at all.


When a chargeback is initiated the purchase is immediately deducted from your bank account and an investigation begins to determine whether or not the purchaser receives their money back.  


During this time you’ll send those who are investigating the case your refund policy and any other communication you may have had with the purchaser.


It’s then that the bank or credit card company decides if the purchaser intentionally made the choice, knew about the refund policy, and acted in integrity to their purchase.


And I WILL say that even though chargebacks are a pain in the tush to deal with, I’ve only had 3 in 9 years, and two were ruled in my favor! So, it pays off to have a clear refund policy and all your conversations in writing.


So, let’s get into responding to a refund request with class. To start, pull up your refund policy so you can respond with verbiage they’ll be familiar with. 


And if you don’t have a refund policy go ahead and click here to get that now from my favorite contract resource called The Contract Shop. Also, if you’re not sure what other business contracts you might need, you can click the blog below and I’ll walk you through them!


RELATED BLOG: Business Contracts for Your Coaching Business


Remember, you’re responding via email, so you can start with a kind greeting. Something like…

“Hi Jane Doe,

I hope you’re having a great day! I’m writing back to acknowledge and respond to your refund request regarding XYZ offer.”


As you can see, I was kind, clear and to the point regarding the purpose of the email. 

Next, you’ll want to reference the refund policy. If they’re within the stipulations set then I simply say something like… 


I'm happy to process your refund request, since it's within our allotted 7 day policy. 

You'll see that process within the next 24-48 hours. 

In saying that, would you be so kind as to answer a quick question for me?

What were you expecting from XYZ course that was different from what you received? Your feedback helps me to offer more clarity on my sales page and marketing message so this doesn't happen in the future.

Thank you & I hope you find what you're looking for!"


Now, if the refund request is outside the policy I’ll respond with something like… 


“The refund policy for xyz course is 7 days. (Please click the attachment below to see the refund policy that was screenshot from the sales page you purchased from.)


In saying that, I dug into the backend of your account and saw that you purchased the course on xyz date, and today is xyz date. 


It's important for me to be in integrity with all of my company policies to maintain fairness throughout my business model... including the refund policy for this online course. 


Unfortunately, you're beyond the 7 day refund request timeframe, so I will not be able to honor your request. 


However, I would like to put my coaching hat on for a minute and circle back to your "WHY" of purchasing the course in the first place. While I don't like to make assumptions... I'm gonna go ahead and assume you wanted to ___________ (share the end result of your offer).


Have things changed in your business model? Do you feel like you need more support? Are you feeling overwhelmed? 


I'd love to hear more about why you committed to this course and then changed your mind.  Let’s talk about it so we can create a win-win outcome!"

Now, I certainly don’t NEED to add anything beyond my offer refund policy, however it’s important for me to connect with my clients & students and make sure they’re feeling seen and heard.


And coming in from a coaching perspective, as opposed to a perspective of taking the refund request personally makes all the difference because it allows me to be curious instead of triggered.


This type of coaching mindset opens up space for compassion, connection and communication in a way where I can still honor my boundaries… and I can do it from a place of love and holding them capable of their self leadership.


And showing up this way allows me to be an example of MY version of integrity and self leadership.


So, now you know my take on embodying your self leadership regarding refund policies and how to handle refund requests with class, and this is just some of the embodiment work I do inside the 12 month Self Led Coach Membership that I was talking about in the beginning of this video. 


For 12 months, Self Led Coach members get access to 2 group coaching sessions (one geared towards business development and one geared towards self leadership development), as well as all my online courses, live group coaching experiences, unlimited comment box coaching, and over 50 masterclasses, templates, challenges, and more.


So, if you’re at the point in your coaching business where you’re ready to build the most aligned business you know and then BE the example of that for others… then invite you to click the picture below to learn more and join the Self Led Coach now!




📣 And, if this blog was just what you needed in your coaching business, please let me know by sharing it with your coach friends.


Until next time, Coach… keep building your empire!


XO, KellyAnne





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